Childrens as play hide, never found
Simples and whispers and shout out – hi
Longer left better served
Boiling hot lava, massive explosions
Missed out on bronze, Build to repel
Piranha faced tarantula infested lava
Tsunami lightening wolves
“If you hear the sound of thunder, then you are in danger from LIGHTNING”
Depeche Mode Album Review 2016
Miraculous. This band’s debut album was not even recorded in such a short amount of time. This is unheard of from a band of their caliber and especially when you take into account this is an electronic band that meticulously assemble their music like an elaborate sonic collage.
Over some mere weeks the songs were played and recorded in quite an ‘old fashion’ way using only old antiquated equipment including vintage microphones, amplifiers and tapes. The final result is classic. Raw vocals with just plate reverb on harmonies accompanied by saloon style sequenced piano rolls and honky tonk jangling – all under pinned by deep blue piano bass lines including compulsory jazz flurry’s and tangents. Gone are the synthesizer and samplers for the most part. The electronic atmospheres on this record are supplied by what can only be described as a ‘Somebody’ style slow backward tape of weird and wonderful sounds and effects.
In true unique Dépêche Mode styling’s the recordings are not as straight forward as first thought. All songs were recorded in one take during which microphones were placed in, on and around the amplifiers and pianos in various rooms and halls to give that extra ‘je ne ce qua’. Guitars play along with amp valve buzzing while piano strings loose from electro workouts flop and twang about – all full up in the mix. The occasional Moog and Theremin make the ubiquitous appearance as does an effected harmonica filtered to haunting result. The slowest banjo you will ever hear plus gated radio interference magnify Martins 3am rasp vocal on ‘And I Miss You More (Than If I Ever Met You)’ which is destined to be a future Depeche Mode staple. Classic bashing of objects, 1983 style, make up the rhythms on the couple of upbeat tracks and a hob-nail-boot on loose floorboards runs through most on here, all sounding like they were fun to play and record, there is even tin coffee mugs on prison bars if I am not mistaken. Plenty of rolling toms and ping pong balls cut in and out of the mix, abrupt starts and false endings as over dubs and under rehearsed live mixing bring a truly human element to a genuinely heartfelt piece of work. ‘Radio Therapy’-esq, original in all but genre.
Any of these elements the band could have sampled and looped and given us one of the finest Depeche Mode albums to date, instead they have given us one of the finest albums to date.
Blues guitar is the prominent feature of this record. All blue, and all the shades, and all the guitars from the cusp of electronics with amps held together by just dust’n’rust. And the songs of course, as diverse as always, from Dave’s confessional soul searching thirteenth step philosophy to Martins parables of biblical epic proportion – even when he is just musing on the ebb and flow of rivers (or whisky, or groins), one can never be quite sure with Mr. Gore. The dexterity and pure joy of word play has not been this consummative since the quest for ‘The Meaning of Love’ and ‘A Photograph of You’ in 1982 only now the subject matter, as well as the melodies, are meatier and accompanied by a rich sauce of wry knowing that only comes from living on a worldwide stage. It’s ‘Construction Time Again’ again as lyrics are spat, visceral, combining the poetry of ‘Walking in My Shoes’ with the whistle blowing of ‘Shame’, propagating modern parables so impartial the whole world should be embarrassed to look children in the eyes. Martin Needs a Maid.
Anthemic rhetoric that will turn stadium gigs into rally’s and turn audiences into humanitarians, this is compelling stuff.
Out of your head and on to your feet, back to the noise. For the completion of the ‘album’ tapes of various performances and Jazz Funerals were played through an affected PA System with live mixing of levels, EQ and other simple desk manipulation. This ‘all hands on desk’ mix rounded off their recording sessions and the sweat on the knobs and perspiration in the performance right until the end can be heard and felt in this record like no other recording I have heard since British band Blind Faith or the late and great Oscar Peterson. Not bad for any band from any district in any space and time, and this is Depeche Mode…
This is ‘Alpha’, with ‘Omega’ to follow later this year in what is now clearly the end of an era, & a new beginning. This is a new republic with the constitution rewrote for the twenty first century, the Ten Commandments revised after two thousand years of trial and error. This album is hot, melting. It’s languid, and precisely so. Cicada prevail and twilightz perpetual as DM deliver on many of their previous promises… Consequently I’ve a tendency to be satisfied, which normally is an insurmountable task.
This was a time of true beauty, magic and enchantment. In the centre of all this wondrous beauty, magic and enchantment there was a young boy. Pretty young prince, the Kings favourite child. The boy stood in awe at his surroundings, his first time out from within the castle walls. He was quite taken aback. Holding his breath and trying to speak at the same time, but he would never find the words to describe. Eyes wide but they too would never be able to register all the beauty that surrounded him at that moment.
This was a time of true beauty, magic and enchantment. There was no notion of time. Days came and went. You woke up after being fully rested and got on with another day filled with wonderful sights to be seen, conversations to be had and extra ordinary sounds to be heard. You ate when hungry and slept when tired, always with a smile on your lips, never any reason to lose it.
This was a time of true beauty, magic and enchantment. Things were alive then that normally are quite still. Everything was different compared to today. The colour of the sky, the sweet candy floss smell in the air, forests with leaves but no trees, brisk little streams that flow above the ground, rocks that swallowed themselves were constantly appearing here and there then vanishing as quickly, animals of peculiar colours like pinky orange or bluish brown with extra legs or winged bears and the transparent wistful little rainbow birds that filled the sky all possessed a silver streak of life, goodness and happiness. All quite quite different to the strange things we have in our lives today.
The pretty young prince, even more gorgeous now that all this beauty is reflected in his eyes, sets out to explore his new world like any other child in a strange new place. Animals and flowers watch curiously as the boy gently glides over the fragile emerald grass to his healthy steed. A tall proud horse, which like the young prince has skin of silvery steel. When he mounts they look as one, a complete chromed conquer prepared to battle any enemy, foe or beast, well that is if there were any, and then in these times and this place if nasty’s did exist, they would probably be friendly, polite and courteous. This was a time of true beauty, magic and enchantment.
The silver mirrored prince naked to the world glistening all over under the platinum sun rides off over the sparkling landscape, the sword by his side looks like it is part of him as he gleams in the warm morning sun light off on the adventure of a lifetime. As he gallops past, the grass sparks green snaps and leaf trees shimmer like soft curtains, flowers pop in clouds of coloured powder and the clouds themselves like collections of bubbles breath in and out, expanding and collapsing casting dappled spectral coloured light on the hills and meadows ahead. This was a time of true beauty, magic and enchantment.
A moment is all that has passed before our brave young bullet is shadowed by an enormous hill, not much different than the one he has just rode down from except on the top of this hill stands a most magnificent castle. A castle made entirely of glass as opposed to the metal one he was used to. The enormity of this castle constructed out of glass would even today be a miracle to behold, and for our young prince on his first time out it was truly the highlight of his day so far.
As he ventured up the steep hill and closer to the castle he noticed things were becoming more and more glass like. The path was slippery as his chromed horses hoofs clacked and slid on the shiny transparent surface. He carefully climbed down off his horse. He was unsure where the path started because it was clear glass and he could see further down than where his horse was standing. The horse neighed and gave a little shake of his head obviously unimpressed at the prospect of walking on a clear glass path. He edged off the path and on to the grass so he could be sure of where he stood but the grass was glass too. ‘Glass grass’ he thought to himself and smiled out loud. They walked along the path of glass grass through the garden of sculpted glass bushes blown by the breeze into shapes of giant leaves and feathers, past glass statues onto the glass drawbridge that spanned the glass mote. ‘I wonder if they have crocodiles’ he thought to himself and imagined a glass crocodile and a mouthful of glass teeth and he smiled aloud again, second time today, not that anybody is counting though. On he went through the castle admiring the pictures and furniture in the rooms above, they seemed suspended in the air for at least forty two stories above, ‘that’s no tall tale I tell you’, he whispered followed by the third loud smile of the day.
Our intrepid little adventurer ventured on until he came across an opening in the centre of the castle twenty flights up with twenty rooms deep on all sides. In the centre of the opening a clear pond, in the centre of the pond, just like a fountain, stood the most beautiful girl he had ever seen. She though, as he, was not what we are use to. She had no recognisable eyes nor mouth, nose, ears or fingers as we know them for she was made entirely from water. Her hair rippled and shone all the way down her smooth clear back coming short of her perfectly rounded and down her long legs the boy gazed to her feet which hovered just inches above the still water. When she would stop moving she would start to spill and drops would fall from her. He followed one ripple from beneath her radiate out to where he stood. She was flowing, but this beautiful most perfect young princess could not stay still or she would indeed collapse like an over laden cloud onto the floor in a puddle so she had to remain constantly moving and swaying.
Totally enraptured in her now was he. The young prince glided across the glass floor over the shallow pond and straight to the princess’s face where his mouth met hers. He kissed her. She kissed him, soft and only for a moment, but in that brief moment they both knew everything about everything. He could see his reflection in her glassy eyes and in his chrome half opened eyes she gazed at her reflection until the moment passed. But she had stood still for that precious moment, fleetingly she had remained stagnant. Into his arms, onto his cheek, his shoulder, his chest she collapsed and spilled. All over our young prince. He fell to and through the glass floor and on through the twenty more beneath until he came to rest on the solid ground far below only to have the contents of the pond pour over and rust him immediately to the spot where he lay destroyed, bruised and dented and still.
They were gone, the two of them, both together gone, but the world remained on and on and still does, though different it may be.
‘Jumping off the table is dangerous’ said Mom. One day I jumped off and went through a vortex. I did not land on the ground, I just kept on floating.
Everything was blue and swirling, I was in another dimension. I could see my house and Mom on the other side. It was like watching a giant television, a giant television in the shape of a great big bubble and I was on the inside.
I called out to Mom but she could not hear me. I looked for something to wave or shake or bang to try and get her attention. There was nothing here. Nothing except air. Nothing except air and tiny shiny strings. Loads of tiny shiny strings like spider webs going from here to there.
I pulled on the strings trying get moms attention. As I shook the crooked and pointy strings she smiled. I pulled and tugged more and as they straightened they gently fell and enveloped her head like a big floppy hat. She grinned and sighed. She could feel the good vibrations I was sending out across the universes’.
I pulled on all the other jagged and sharp strings. They wobbled then straightened and draped over everyone I knew, and then some. Everyone was smiling and feeling like they had just been hugged. As I reached out to make everyone happy the bubble I was in became smaller and smaller until suddenly I just materialised on the rug at home beside mom and the coffee table.
Mom was happy to see me and gave me the biggest hug ever and whispered in my ear, ‘be careful love, jumping off the table is dangerous’. Mom is always right.